Welcome to “Ask Ada,” a weekly series in which we answer all those burning questions you’d rather not share aloud. Buckle up for some brutally honest advice!
I love my girl, but the sex has not been good. She says that she does not enjoy it, and she finds it painful. I saw your articles on asexuality, and I wonder if she is asexual, too. How do I talk to her about it, and how can I fix her? I love sex, and I want to make her love it, too.
In the short-term, stop having sex altogether.
Your girlfriend finds it painful and unpleasant, so there is literally nothing to gain from forcing yourself to keep going, and having sex will hurt your relationship overall. Drop the topic from conversation, and focus on doing the things you enjoy together.
Before I talk to you about the long-term, I’d like you to really imagine that your girlfriend is asexual. Let’s say that she is sex-repulsed, and let’s also assume that she will never, ever change how she feels. Would you give up sex to be with her? How long do you think you will stay in this relationship?
This isn’t a trick question.
If you girlfriend is asexual, then you need to accept her sexuality if you want to stay together. You can’t “fix her” because she’s not broken. What you can do, though, is be honest about your own boundaries and what would make your relationship work.
If no sex is a deal breaker for you, I suggest that you call it quits now.
Yes, letting her go will suck, but it will suck a lot less than if you force yourself to be someone you are not. Giving up something you love for your partner is a lovely gesture, but not if you end up resenting her for it. You should cut your losses now so that you can find a more compatible partner.
You don’t need to have those answers right now, though.
Take some time (when you are both not pressuring yourselves to have sex), and really think it through. Then sit down and tell your girlfriend what you think. Don’t diagnose her asexuality – that’s not the point. Instead, focus on your deal-breakers. Ask her what she wants, and then listen to the answers.
If she says that she wants to keep trying for your sake, then you’re going to have to put in a lot of work to make sex a pleasant experience for her. That means a lot more talking, a lot more foreplay, and a willingness to stop immediately if she is in pain or is in any way uncomfortable. Let her initiate your encounters, and let her take the lead about how they go. Leave your ego at the door, and take direction from her.
People who want to “fix” others and “make” them do stuff aren’t lovers, they’re ad executives. If your girlfriend is experiencing pain during sex, and repeatedly says that she doesn’t enjoy it, then you need to change what you do. You need to talk to her. You need to respect her boundaries just like you expect her to respect yours. Most of all, you need show her that you can let her be.
If all of this sounds like too much work, well…. I refer you to my earlier points.
TL;DR: Believe your partner when she tells you what she doesn’t like. Trust that she will not change her mind. Act honourably.
The rest will fall into place.
Got a question? Send us your burning queries here.